Today, the 2nd of February 2018, marks the one hundredth day I have gone without a refrigerator, and it has been, I can report, a non-event. In my kitchen the fruit continues to repose in its bowl, the leafy greens slowly wilt, their chlorophyll slowly fading away as the days pass by, and the pumpkin sits still, glowing bright in the sunlight. Even the butter and cheese remain fresh, tucked away in an insulated bag, absent of any mould blossom. This is the state of the kitchen, and it is good.
I left behind the old refrigerator with the beginning fo the winter, when one overcast day I opened its doors to see nothing more than one solitary triangular block of cheese, wrapped in a cold aluminium jacket. I contrasted this scene with my perpetual financial woes – aggravated as they are by monthly electricity bills – and had then an epiphany: the refrigerator must go..!
It was decadence that was the death of so many civilisations before us, and – we know – it is decadence that will be the death of our own, unless some radical changes are made to our habits, our lifestyle, our culture, and our entire economic system.
Freed from this luxury of eternally cooled condiments, I had to make only one or two minor changes in my behaviour to adapt to this new ambient arrangement. Now, instead of having soft cheeses with my breakfast, I have hard ones, as hard cheese attracts mould only superficially, permitting its cutting off and continued consumption. I was forced too to cease freezing my bread – now an inexplicable habit in my new eyes – and instead leave it be in a paper bag with the rest of the food.
But, you might protest, without a fridge you cannot store yogurt or milk. This is true enough, though since none of these forms a staple in my diet, there is no regret felt. There is, though, a substitution: UHT milk – that is, boiled milk – which has an impressive shelf-life. And meat I had already banished from my house for the pain inflicted upon the Kingdom of Animalia by its production. Even if you must eat meat, why so much, and why not fresh? Apart from these few products, nothing much else requires refrigeration.
Granted, this new norm may become complicated when summer arrives, but the principle is the point: in a world where collective consumption is pushing the planet to the brink have to reflect upon our own individual habits and see if they cannot be made more sustainable. Because it was decadence that was the death of so many civilisations before us, and – we know – it is decadence that will be the death of our own, unless some radical changes are made to our habits, our lifestyle, our culture, our entire economic system.
There is seemingly little we can do as individuals when facing such colossal challenges, but why not begin at the beginning, begin with our consumption, digestion and metabolism of nature and her products? We can begin, that is, with our fridges, with our diet, with what we purchase, where we purchase, from who we purchase. Maybe you won’t pull the plug on your fridge tomorrow, but why not ease-up on meat, side-step the supermarket to buy local, reject plastic packaging, and eat ecological?
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